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24 September 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > People > Profiles > The Alan Sillitoe interview

Alan Sillitoe in 2005

Alan Sillitoe in 2005

The Alan Sillitoe interview

After DH Lawrence he's probably Nottinghamshire's most famous author. As John Holmes discovers Alan Sillitoe's done much more than Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

Alan Sillitoe turned 80 on 4 March 2008. He's still writing and spends time travelling between London and Nottingham where several members of his family still live.

Back in the 60s he hit the big time when Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, that book that introduced the world to womanising Arthur Seaton became a best seller.

When it was turned into a film it caused shockwaves because of its authentic northern grittiness.

But Alan Sillitoe has written many more books including a sequel to Saturday Night... called Birthday, in 2001.

Growing up

Alan Sillitoe was born on the 4 March 1928. He left school at 14 to work in the Raleigh bicycle factory before joining the Royal Air Force four years later.

During his time in the RAF he contracted tuberculosis and spent 16 months in hospital where he began to write.

In 1958 he wrote his first novel 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' which went on to be hugely successful and was adapted for the screen, as was his second novel 'The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner'.

Talking about his life

In an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham's John Holmes, conducted in March 2005, he talked about:-

  • The birth of Arthur Seaton
  • Pub crawls in Nottingham
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
  • Birthday - the book that told about Arthur in his later years
  • Nottingham as a story location
  • Living in Majorca in the 1950s
  • The book Leading the Blind
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning - the movie
  • Alan Sillitoe in 2005

last updated: 22/04/2008 at 12:13
created: 29/03/2005

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Nigel Place
The scene in Saturday Night Sunday Morning when Arthur falls drunk down the stairs and laughs actually happend at my grandparents pub (The Boulevard) in Radford Nottingham in he late 1930's, I've often wondered if Alan Sillitoe was there that night!

katie young
I have never read any of Alan's books, but since I have found out I live in his childhood home, im looking forward to reading his novels.

Mike Bettney
Alan Sillitoe has the good sense to write about what he knows best, and I have never read anything more evocative of working class life in the 21st century. Some of his short stories and essays (Mountains & Caverns) are also brilliant. Well deserved.

Wish one could find more of his works in the local bookshops,On my trips to Nottingham I always look for his books but they are very hard to find I have to go on the internet and mainly buy used ones.My father went to school with Allen and he told me he was a great storyteller back then,A true Notts . legend and I hope he continues in good health.

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